Hi All! Nitecore sent me the LA30 to test and wanted to share my thoughts and results here.
This is a new addition to Nitecore’s L-series (for lanterns) which features BOTH a built-in li-ion battery and the option to add 2xAA (Alkaline or NiMH)! If you’re in need of an everyday lantern, whether at home or abroad, say hello to the LA30!
Link to manufacture product page: http://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/la30
Overall, you can’t really find a lantern that has 2 different power sources which is a really handy feature. If inside the light can light a room or tent very well but if you are outside, it’s best that the light be hanging and pointed down; that’s when the magnet and hook come in very well, but you may want to bring some nails or twine to help mount the light to a tree.
- NITECORE LA30 lantern
- O-ring for battery cover
- O-ring for screw
- USB charging cable
- Instruction Manual (pdf)
- Warranty Card
There are 2 body colors available, yellow or blue.
Current price is $40 USD (buy links at the very end of the review).
LOOK & FEEL
The light has very pleasing curves and looks easy to clean if it gets dirty. I really like the large and triangular shaped switch, and the rubber cover makes it easy to find in the dark, perhaps having the rubber glow in the dark would be a nice touch. The ploycarbonate plastic feels very thick so I’m not worried about dropping it and getting any cracks. The USB cover is very easy to remove and it moves out of the way easily. The magnet is pretty strong and can hang upside down and on a vertical surface without sliding down by itself. Another suggestion would be to shape the bottom of it so you can always have a small carabiner attached.
The thumb screw, used for accessing the AA battery bay, works fairly well but perhaps would have liked the tread to be a little thicker gauge. The AA contacts have brass/gold layer for good anti-corrosion protection and current flow. Also, there is no rattling noise when shaken.
No other accessories except the USB cable is included.
Nitecore says there are 8 High CRI LEDS but does not specify the make or model.
Nitecore does not really advertise the beam angle and this is usually the case for most lanterns. From what I’ve collected it seems to be a wide 240 degree total spill with a more concentrated area of about 140 total degrees. Notice the extra wide angle means that light will shine behind the lantern a little bit, although it’s relatively dim.
The secondary red looks to have exactly the same beam profile so I didn’t measure it.
The first rectangular graph is cut across the beam and helps a bit better to see what angle the spill starts at as usually it is quite a bit dimmer then the center. It’s quite possible that a very low lumen outer spill might not register using these methods. The percentage is a relative comparison to the brightest light recorded (generally, in the center).
The second, polar graph, is a simulation of the light along the beam.
Currently, these readings are strictly sensor recorded, and are not adjusted based on human perception of light but may be an interesting idea for the future.
The LA30 (left) is a bit warmer than the mostly neutral, Nichia 219B (in the Nitecore MT06MD penlight).
Below is a quick color temperature graphic for reference. I usually use the “cloudy” color balance setting on my camera but tints don’t always appear exactly to the eye.
I’m pretty easy to please about mode spacing but my only remark is that the light does not have a 1 lumen output which someone may want in the middle of the night in a shared tent perhaps but I suppose you could use the lower 5 lumen red light in that situation as well.
Here is a video of me going through all the different modes:
All the pictures below are taken with the light in HIGH.
The LA30 has a built-in Li-ion battery advertised at 1800 mAh. The user has the option of using 2xAA batteries (not included) as well. The AA batteries can be Alkaline or NiMH, no primary lithium or 14500 allowed.
You can check the status of the battery by tapping the power switch; red indicator light will blink three times for more than 50% battery, twice for less than 50% battery, and once for less than 10% battery.
The indicator light will be red while charging and bright green when completed.
The built-in battery took about 5h 30m to charge (a little more than the 5 hours stated in the manual), which resulted in a calculated capacity of about 2020 mAh (a little more than the advertised 1800 mAh). The port is easy to uncover and has wide accommodations for USB plug.
NOTES ON METHODS
I measured the light output in relative LUX and I have not spent time yet to calibrated for lumens or factored % of max output. The charts I’ve provided, while are literally quantitative, I suggest using as a qualitative reference for how the output may behave over time; typically lights aren’t left on this long and the max output can be reset.
PWM check using a 50 millisecond test period with a sampling rate of 3,000 times per second.
Temperature measurement condition is at room temp and currently no fan cooling.
I am still very new at doing these types of measurements so I am no authority on on this subject, but please let me know if things don’t look right or you see anything that I could do to improve for next time.
BATTERIES USED FOR TEST
The internal battery is used for one test and basic (2000 mAh) Enelopes are used for the other test.
It seems that the built-in battery and the AA batteries do not work together; if the AA cells are inserted then only the AA cells will be used and the user must remove them in order to use the built-in battery. Wish that it would use the AA batteries first then use the li-ion battery.
This runtime is for the built-in battery:
This runtime is for the 2xAA NiMH (Panisonic eneloops, 2000 mAh):
Runitime for alkaline AA (Amazon Basics)
There appears to be no significant PWM on any constant mode. Second graph is of Nitecore R25 that has PWM.
There is no strobe.
For the red beacon the frequency is 1 flash every 2 seconds, with the flash lasting about 0.2 seconds.
A max temp of about 87°F was observed for High using the li-ion battery.
The UI is pretty straight forward and not many pit falls but I am firstly surprised that there are no special white modes like a white beacon or SOS; and for all the special red modes, I’d think there ought to be a red safety/warning flashing mode.
Perhaps the red profile could be accessed by a combo of: quick press then a press hold and then have special white modes with a quick double click of the switch. Curious that there is a red SOS but this sorta makes sense if you are on the side of the road and don’t want to shine bright white light at oncoming drivers.
- There is a drop-and-find mode but when you turn on and off (in the regular manner) the light the drop and find light turns off. I wish it would stay enabled till you turned off the light with the extra long press and hold.
- Wish there was a lockout mode, perhaps a x3 click or x4 click, but that may confuse the general consumer this is probably geared towards.
- Glad it always starts in low
- Can use built-in battery or add your own AA batteries for long trips.
- Great warm tint.
- Has both a hook and magnetic base or attachment.
- Large accessible power button.
- Pretty easy user interface
- Wish that the light could use AA batteries and switch to built-in li-ion battery when AA batteries are exhausted.
- There is no white beacon or red warning flashing mode
- Perhaps a lock-out mode would be nice.
- Rubber bottom would be nice anti-slip improvement.
- Would like drop-and-find mode to stay on until toggled off by, from on, doing long 3 sec press to turn off.
- Would like exterior design to incorporate the use of a small carabiner
The current price for the light is about $40 USD see links below:
Nitecore Store Link: http://www.nitecorestore.com/nitecore-la30-bi-fuel-lantern-p/fl-nite-la30.htm (non-affiliate)
Panasonic Eneloop Pro 4xAA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries with Charger (affiliate)
- CivilGear Reviews received this product for testing and providing an honest review.
- CivilGear Reviews was not paid for writing this review.
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